We’ve spent a lifetime slogging away at our jobs, justifying it with the meagre trickle of our earnings. We look at others doing less (and less competently), and getting rewarded abundantly for it. Ah, dumb luck, fate, karma, we tell ourselves. I shoulda worked harder in a previous life as well, but oh well, if I work hard enough in this one maybe in my next one I’ll be a billionaire.
But here is the thing: we don’t know our past nor our future lives, nor have do we really know if any such thing as 'luck' exists. Until we do, the benefit of a pragmatic and experiential outlook is we are not obliged to accept they exist. So if all we know is here and now, what explains the flow of wealth in our lives?
The principle is simple: all mass is energy and all energy is mass, distinguished only by a constant. We know this from the base consumption of food in its conversion to kilocalories to the physicality of sound waves. Money too is energy. It mobilises, it spurs investment, productivity and creativity, it flows inwards and outwards, it can be converted, stored and expended.
Money is only one tangible aspect of abundance energy in the same way that weight is only one aspect of nutrition energy, which also plays out in emotion, brain function, hormonal balance, sleep and fatigue, growth, stunting, haemoglobin, etc. That is, there are multiple ways in which each energy manifests. Abundance is a strong bank balance, yes, but it also plays out in the richness of friendships, relationships, opportunity. It manifests in connections and collaborations, what you are called upon to be generous with: input, advice, company, counsel or your laughter, food, belongings. We all have abundance, just not all in the same way. It is expressed more in one aspect over others depending on who we are, what has shaped us, and how we express ourselves.
Because abundance manifests in these myriad ways, it is also possible to give it in myriad ways. We assume people who give, major philanthropists like Azim Premji or Bill Gates, give because they have a lot. When in fact, they have a lot because they give. Here’s why: because abundance is an energy, it needs to flow. When our focus is accumulation rather than becoming a channel for it, we confront it with stagnation and divert it. This is why wealth creators will often tell you they are custodians. This isn’t just polite speak: custodians are constantly creating avenues for the abundance energy to flow. They funnel it into new companies, creating jobs, opportunities, and nurturing creativity, thereby allowing money to flow. This outward flow is what keeps the input going. Abundance always flows through you and not to you.
Therefore the best way to kickstart the abundance energy and clear the blocks in manifesting in terms of bank balance, assets and tangible expressions of wealth, is to give. But how, you may ask, I don’t have money to give away. Well, because abundance manifests in many ways, it can also be given in many ways. You will find your generosity in what is abundant in your life currently. You may be rich in knowledge, in your advice, experience, wisdom; you may love feeding strays, you can put handfuls of grain or water out for the birds, you can even lend your humour, compassion, time and energy. It doesn’t matter what you give, it just matters that you give.
What this does is take you from the position of a seeker, asking from a universe in which abundance sits potent, needing and wanting, to being a giver. Being a giver impacts your mindset, your confidence, your focus on what you have, and thus your attitude of gratitude as well. The giver is always positioned higher than the seeker not because he is more noble or a better person, but because he taps into this principle of abundance with a sense of equality. He is not giving from his pocket, he’s just a channel to distribute this universal energy, so there is no ego involved. The minute the ego gets involved he slips from his position of equality into one of superiority and loses his connection. It’s like tuning into a radio programme. You get on the right frequency and tap into this ready broadcast.
Populist law of attraction mantras makes it seem like manifesting abundance is cutting out images of your dream house for a visualisation board. But the point is you already are a cog in the wheel of an abundant energy. All you need to do is become aware of your role in it. When you do, you no longer evaluate yourself in terms of what you get paid. It’s no longer a transaction. Prosperity is not tied in with self-worth because no matter what your income on the job is, you are already a giver and have a place in and a right to the abundance energy. You focus on what you enjoy giving. You move into a space of positivity and gratitude. You’ll see the energy flow through you. The stress around money drops away.
This Diwali, the best way to unlock your prosperity—both tangible and emotional—in these bleak times of want and lack is to simply give. This is what they mean when they say, may your generosity return to you manifold. It does.
The Zen Tangle is a series on using spiritual wisdom to unlock wellness and wellbeing. Gayatri Jayaraman is the author of Sit Your Self Down and a mind body spirit counsellor.